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Assistant Professor Henk Rossouw Wins Poets Out Loud Editor's Prize

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Henk Rossouw, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, won the 2016-2017 Poets Out Loud Editor's Prize for his book-length poem Xamissa

Xamissa is a book-length poem that sounds out the city of Cape Town in a joyful elegy for the city of alternate takes. Xamissa adapts the mythical name for the springs and streams running from Table Mountain to the sea, under the city itself, since before the colonial Dutch ships came—the X of the title standing in for the multiple ways in the languages of the Cape, past and present, the reader may pronounce the first consonant.

A work of documentary poetics that investigates the cost of whiteness in South Africa, Xamissa code-switches at times into Lontara, the subversive Indonesian script that undercuts the prevalence of Dutch in the colonial archive. Through serial questions around the ethics of its address, Xamissa probes the interrelation of language, sociality, and resistance, in its bid to interrogate the archive as a draft of the city’s future.

From the book: "Above the city, leopard clouds— / rosettes of immanent rain on the bright.”

Xamissa is published by Fordham University Press and is available for purchase now at A book launch will be held at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus in New York City on October 18. The UL Lafayette English Department will hold a faculty reading in celebration of this publication and others on November 16.